Discus thrower Forbes ready to stake claim at 'Champs'

Thursday, February 21, 2019

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Marie Forbes is in her first year as a Class One athlete, but she's ready and raring to go after the discus gold at “Champs” next month.

The Vere Technical High student is following in the footsteps of athletes from that school who have represented the country with distinction at the junior level, having done so at the annual Carifta Games up to last year.

After a patchy and underwhelming start to her season, the 17-year-old finally got things going at her home meet last Saturday at the ninth staging of the Ben Francis Invitational Meet. She won gold in the Class One Girls shot put in the morning with a distance of 13.23m, before returning to win gold in her pet event, the discus, in the afternoon with a mark that will have a resounding effect across the island.

Forbes had a personal best of 49.23m set at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia last year and registered a new personal best of 49.36m at Vere to take top spot on the podium ahead of her teammate Talleen Gordon, who had a best of 36.91m, while Britania Mighty of Garvey Maceo was third with 23.79m.

That throw by Forbes eclipsed the personal best of Shamella Donaldson of Rusea's High (49.06m) set in January and is sure to get the attention of the western champion, who is also determined to win gold after claiming bronze at 'Champs' last year.

A pleased Forbes was happy to get a new personal best, but is not about to rest on her laurels.

“I am pleased with my performance in the discus... I know I can do better, but I will take it, it's alright,” said last year's Class Two discus gold medal winner.

“I am going back to the drawing board to work on my technique,” Forbes added.

The sixth form student is hoping to build up steam ahead of Champs by getting right back into the ring this Saturday.

“I will be throwing at Gibson if they accept me, so I will be competing with the collegiate athletes. So hopefully they let me and I know I will improve on the 49,” she said with confidence.

“I am going to throw over 50 on Saturday,” Forbes promised.

She did take time to revel a little bit in her recent success, however.

“To throw my first '49' on local soil at the one and only Vere Technical High School, I am overwhelmed and grateful, I couldn't ask for anything more,” she gushed.

Tamara Williams-Gayle, who has been guiding Forbes from Class Three, is still in awe of her own athlete.

“Marie is just different, her performances are just different. She is a very talented athlete and her progress is just unbelievable. She is very disciplined and what makes it more interesting is that she really loves throwing. This is her first year in Class One and she is actually making the transition look easy.”

Williams-Gayle thinks the sky is the limit for the precocious teenager, but wants to take it in stride as the season progresses.

“I think she is capable of breaking the ('Champs') record, but first I would want her to just focus on getting a mark over 50m,” the coach reasoned.

The Champs record of 53.04m was set by Fiona Richards of Edwin Allen two years ago.

— Dwayne Richards

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